What, is your 1,849-pound Lotus Elise is too heavy for you? Apparently, Lotus agrees. The British automaker thought the featherweight Elise looked a little flabby and rectified this by somehow slicing an additional 90 pounds off the bare-bones roadster for a new Elise Sprint special edition.
The regular Elise was already exceptionally basic, so Lotus engineers had to be fanatical about their devotion to weight loss. Somehow, the new Elise Sprint barely tips the scales at a skinny 1,759 pounds, down 90 pounds from the regular Elise.
The largest loss was the battery, now replaced with a new lightweight lithium-ion pack that sheds around 20 pounds. Inside, Lotus added an Exige-sourced open shifter (1.1 pounds), carbon-fiber race seats (13 pounds), and a combination of polycarbonate materials for the access panel, roll hoop cover, and engine cover, saving another 13 pounds. Outside, optional two-piece brake rotors cut another 9 pounds, hiding behind a new wheel design that contributes an additional 11-pound loss.
Mechanically, the Sprint remains the same. Under the new polycarbonate rear decklid beats a choice of either a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter or a 1.8-liter supercharged four cylinder. Performance is impressive, returning a 0-60 time of just 5.9 seconds and 4.1 seconds for the 1.6-liter and 1.8-liter, respectively.
If you’re not looking for that level of asceticism, the rest of the Elise lineup still receives a 22-pound weight loss, thanks to interior tweaks and revised body panels.
Before you ask, the answer is no. The regular Elise and Exige isn’t sold in the U.S., so you’ll once again have to make do with the larger (but still excellent) Lotus Evora 400. For those who do live where the Elise is sold, prices for the new Sprint begin at £37,300 ($46,248) and jump to £44,300 ($54,927) for the more powerful Sprint 220.